Thanks for joining me today. I really appreciate you popping in and taking the time to follow along for Minnesota Festival of Champions Day. Wrap up to follow in the next couple of days!
5:40 PM - Minnesota Classic
Suddenly Silver has it his own way in the Classic. By the time he turned for home he had shaken off Tsar Tops Dancer and only had his stablemate, Jack and Max and he had him put away halfway through the lane. This is the fourth win on the card for both Mac Robertson and Ry Eikleberry. Very impressive day for Ry since getting dumped earlier in the weekend and riding obviously sore today. One tough rider who really came up big today. Canterbury classic Wally's Choice finishes third in what could be his last race. Speaking of which, the connections of the other 9-year old today, Sir Tricky, announced that he will be retired following his win today in the Turf.
5:15 PM - 9 MTP - Minnesota Classic
We have a scratch in this one, Crypto Edition is scratched, though shouldn't affect the race much at all. Sentimental favorite is Wally's Choice, though I don't think the 9-year old has it left in him, although bookended with Sir Tricky it would be a great story line for the old timers. Everyone in here is 4-1 or less with the exception of Banker's D Light - with good reason.
4:58 PM - Northern Lights Futurity
Samendra comes up short, losing to the "other" Rhone horse, maiden Black Tie Benny under David Cardoso. How many times have we seen trainers send out more than one horse with the "other" horse coming up big? Cardoso felt pretty confident as he made his move through the turn and absolutely did not look back, running away from the other 2 year olds and giving Bernell Rhone his first Festival win on today's card. Samendra held for second with Dancingwithbigron rounding out the top three.
4:50 PM - Northern Lights Futurity
We've got a field of ten and six minutes to post on this one. My choice, Samendra, is the current 8/5 favorite. Three maidens are in this field, which is always disturbing to me for whatever reason - it happens every season so I shouldn't be shocked by it, yet it always surprises me. I'm not thrilled with the betting options in this one, but it should be intriguing to see how it shapes up.
4:35 PM - MN Sprint
Nomorewineforeddie and defending champion Bizet dueled all the way through the stretch with Nomorewineforeddie prevailing by a head in a fantastic race. Dean Butler rides him hard throughout to earn his second Festival Day win in a row. The pair were clear of First Captain with my choice, 3-year old Bet Your Boots not quite good enough to get up and beat his elders.
4:15 PM - 10 MTP - Sprint
It looks like the crowd has thickened up a bit. It could be that the early QH races weren't the draw but as PT moved closer to the 3rd race, the crowd grew substantially. I don't think we'll get to the 10,000+ we reached last year, but it's a nice crowd on a gorgeous day. Several bridge jumpers popping in today: $25,000 in one race and another couple of $10,000 bets in two others as well. All the bridge jumpers stayed grounded, though, as every bet was a winner. There doesn't appear to be any more opportunities on the card, but we'll keep an eye out. No one likes to see too much of that happening.
4:03 PM - Northern Lights Debutante
Esprit de Bleu turned out to be too good for this group of fillies, including Congrats and Roses. She handled the field throughout and was, as they say, much the best. No one really challenged her on the lead and when Congrats and Roses made her move, there was simply nothing in the tank and Esprit had plenty left. Let the 2011 Minnesota Oaks hype begin (she is a VERY good one)!!
Robertson gets his third in a row. Dean Butler picks up his first riding Festival win for 2010.
3:52 PM - 3 MTP - Northern Lights Debutante
I'm wavering on my earlier stance of Sam's Grindstone. No real reason why except that the more I look at the PPs the more dubious my choice becomes. Right now the fans are splitting their action between my two other choices in the top 3, Congrats and Roses and Esprit de Bleu. I hedged a bit with exacta and tri wagers in here but I still like my top 3.
3:32 PM - MN Turf
Sir Tricky, 2008 Sprint Champion, comes back two years later and wins the one mile MN Turf Championship. Mack's Blackhawk did indeed break well and led the field for 3/4 but was worn down in the stretch by Sir Tricky and Beau Named Sue, but was able to fight back and edge Beau for the place. Mac Robertson gets himself another Festival win and his second in a row on today's card.
3:19 PM - MN Turf
Big scratch in the Turf, defending champion Sarahs Son scratches out of the Turf. Most of the money appears to be moving toward the old warhorse, Sir Tricky. The question going into this one now is if Mack's Blackhawk can hold his speed. With Sir Tricky at 4-5 and Mack's Blackhawk at 5-2, the value only really lies in one spot. Mack seems ready to go warming up. I think I'll take that stab with Sarahs Son out.
3:30 PM - MN Distaff Sprint
Bella Notte takes control early and let's her rip. She had it in hand the entire way and looked every inch a sprint champion, winning at 2-5. Special Occasion finished second with 3-year old Her Sweet Saint picking up the third. The win gives Ry Eikleberry his third stakes win on the day. Quite a recovery from the spill the other day!!
2:51 PM - 8 MTP - MN Distaff Sprint
Looking across the infield and over to the backside the lack of activity is just depressing - for no other reason than another season has come and gone. We agonize all winter waiting for opening day and then, in a blink, it's over.
Another overwhelming favorite in the MN Distaff Sprint in 2-5 Bella Notte. While I could make a case in the last race for the favorite to get beaten (which is exactly what happened - that would make ONCE in my life!), it's tough to come up with a way that Bella Notte loses this one.
2:34 PM - MN Distaff Classic
1-5 favorite Chick Fight was looked in the eye by Sasha's Fierce and folded in the stretch. She couldn't get the distance, Sasha could and she is the 2010 Distaff Champion. Both were well clear of Nokomis would came hard then held on for 3rd. Ry Eikleberry's second win on the card so far with Gary Scherer winning the heads up battle with Mac Robertson for the Distaff Classic.
2:20 PM - 9 MTP - MN Distaff Classic
ALL the early money is coming in on Chick Fight. No surprise there. Co-second choices are Sasha's Fierce and Sheso Dazzling followed up by Nokomis and Chasin Mason. No real surprise all the way through the field. I don't know how vulnerable Chick Fight is in here, but at 1-9 it makes me start wondering - but not enough to bet against her.
Sentimentally my connection to Nokomis (The Miller Family) has me hoping for a huge upset in this one, no matter how unlikely. She has really improved over the real dirt, but not enough to take down a filly like Chic Fight.
Should Sasha's Fierce really be stepping it into another gear going long, then she may have a shot. All look good in the post parade - Nokomis breaks the streak of the #2 horse acting up in the post parade - and Chick Fight looking poised and confident.
2:03 PM - MN QH Derby
Theodore is now 3 - 3 when it comes to picking QH races as Six It Up dominates the Minnesota QH Derby by just over 2. Granted, my selections probably paid a grand total of $8 on $6 worth of bets, but my percentage is strong! My $2 Daily Double today pays $2.80!! Take THAT to the bank!! You're welcome...
What is up with the 2s today!? Rockn On Ready was jumpy in the post parade as well. Now that they are all warming for the QH Derby, all looks settled again.
1:32 PM - QH Futurity
Seis It Fast wins at 1-9 moments (18.52 for 350 yards) after a $25,000 show bet hit the pool. He rewarded his backers but didn't do it easily winning by only a head and looking like he could have been upset in the late strides before putting the field away. V Os Nicotine and Lien On Me in a very close photo to finish 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
1:22 PM - 8 Minutes to 1st Post
I was hoping we'd see a big uptick in the crowd over the past half hour, but on a gorgeous day that happens to be opening weekend of the Great Minnesota Get Together (out-of-staters would know this as the State Fair) I may be hoping for a bit much.
The 2-year old Quarter Horses are on the track for the Futurity. The 2, Keezhik, nearly dumped jock Mike Luark in post parade but has settled down nicely. Seis It Fast has drifted all the way up to 1-5 now...
12:41 PM - 49 Minutes to 1st Post
Welcome to the 2010 Minnesota Festival of Champions Day at Canterbury Park. It is an absolutely gorgeous late summer day in Minnesota with temperatures trying to push through the mid-80's, mostly sunny skies and stiff breeze which will be blowing into the face of the horses as they move down the lane. Today is the day where Minnesota bred horses will take center stage and try to take home large chunks of the $400,000 in purse money up for grabs. While it's always a thrill to have your horse win a race, there is something more special when it happens at home in front of family and friends. I can only imagine - for now - what it must be like when you can then call your own a Champion.
Divisions up for grabs today:
Minnesota Quarter Horse Futurity
Minnesota Quarter Horse Derby
Minnesota Distaff Classic
Minnesota Distaff Sprint
Northern Lights Debutante
Northern Lights Futurity
With less than an hour to first post for the QH Futurity and already Seis It Fast is a 1-9 favorite with nearly $800 bet to win. Co-second choices Cs Arc Light and V Os Nicotine are at 25-1 with only $28 bet to win on each.